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Desha County, Arkansas facts for kids

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Desha County
Desha County courthouse in Arkansas City
Desha County courthouse in Arkansas City
Map of Arkansas highlighting Desha County
Location within the U.S. state of Arkansas
Map of the United States highlighting Arkansas
Arkansas's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Arkansas
Founded December 12, 1838
Named for Benjamin Desha
Seat Arkansas City
Largest city Dumas
 • Total 820 sq mi (2,100 km2)
 • Land 768 sq mi (1,990 km2)
 • Water 51 sq mi (130 km2)  6.3%%
 • Total 13,008
 • Estimate 
 • Density 15.86/sq mi (6.12/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 1st

Desha County ( DUH-shay) is a county located in the southeast part of the U.S. state of Arkansas, with its eastern border the Mississippi River. As of the 2010 census, the population was 13,008. It ranks 56th of Arkansas's 75 counties in terms of population. The county seat is Arkansas City. Located in the Arkansas Delta, Desha County's rivers and fertile soils became prosperous for planters under the cotton-based economy of plantation agriculture in the antebellum years and late 19th century. Still largely rural, it has suffered population losses and economic decline since the mid-20th century.

But following widespread farm mechanization, Desha County underwent a demographic and economic transformation. Farm workers left the area because of the lack of work, and there was a decline in population. Farm holdings have been consolidated into industrial style farms and the economy cannot support much activity. In the 21st century, the county is seeking to reverse population and economic losses through better education for its workforce, and developing tourism based on its cultural, historical and outdoor recreation amenities.


Desha County was created by the Arkansas Legislature on December 12, 1838, consisting of the lands of Arkansas County separated from the county seat by the Arkansas River White River and land from Chicot County. The county was named for Captain Benjamin Desha, who fought in the War of 1812.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 820 square miles (2,100 km2), of which 768 square miles (1,990 km2) is land and 51 square miles (130 km2) (6.3%) is water. Desha County is within the Arkansas Delta and is considered a member of the Southeast Arkansas region.

Major highways

  • I-69.svg Future Interstate 69
  • US 65.svg U.S. Highway 65
  • US 165.svg U.S. Highway 165
  • US 278.svg U.S. Highway 278
  • Arkansas 1.svg Highway 1
  • Arkansas 4.svg Highway 4
  • Arkansas 138.svg Highway 138

Adjacent counties

National protected area


Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 1,598
1850 2,911 82.2%
1860 6,459 121.9%
1870 6,125 −5.2%
1880 8,973 46.5%
1890 10,324 15.1%
1900 11,511 11.5%
1910 15,274 32.7%
1920 20,297 32.9%
1930 21,814 7.5%
1940 27,160 24.5%
1950 25,155 −7.4%
1960 20,770 −17.4%
1970 18,761 −9.7%
1980 19,760 5.3%
1990 16,798 −15.0%
2000 15,341 −8.7%
2010 13,008 −15.2%
2019 (est.) 11,361 −12.7%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2016
USA Desha County, Arkansas age pyramid
Age pyramid Desha County

2020 census

Desha County Racial Composition
Race Num. Perc.
White 4,732 41.53%
Black or African American 5,385 47.26%
Native American 36 0.32%
Asian 61 0.54%
Other/Mixed 408 3.58%
Hispanic or Latino 773 6.78%

As of the 2020 United States Census, there were 11,395 people, 5,204 households, and 3,545 families residing in the county.




Unincorporated areas

Historic community


Desha County Arkansas 2010 Township Map small
Townships in Desha County, Arkansas as of 2010

Townships in Arkansas are the divisions of a county. Each township includes unincorporated areas; some may have incorporated cities or towns within part of their boundaries. Arkansas townships have limited purposes in modern times. However, the United States Census does list Arkansas population based on townships (sometimes referred to as "county subdivisions" or "minor civil divisions"). Townships are also of value for historical purposes in terms of genealogical research. Each town or city is within one or more townships in an Arkansas county based on census maps and publications. The townships of Desha County are listed below; listed in parentheses are the cities, towns, and/or census-designated places that are fully or partially inside the township.

Notable people

Women's History Month on Kiddle
Women Scientists of Antiquity
Mary the Jewess
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